A tree looms over Marine Park, a single pair of checkered Vans hanging from a limb. Skaters begin to trickle in. It’s quiet — until their boards hit the metal rails.
Those serene moments of skateboarding at the Fort Worth park are things Raul Rodriguez set out to capture two years ago.
“When they’re tired, when they’re kind of just sitting there, absorbing the skatepark and absorbing, you know, what they’re doing,” Rodriguez, 32, said.
In his first solo exhibition, Marine Park, on display at the Latino Cultural Center in Dallas, Rodriguez turns his lens to a community of skaters in the Northside of Fort Worth, where he grew up.
The park, full of rich history, is a meeting spot for skaters in this mainly Latino neighborhood.
“A lot of these people are just like me, a lot of them even kind of look like each other,” Rodriguez said. “It’s kind of a weird little place in time that skate park. It’s almost like time really stands still there.”
For him, the project happened naturally.
“It made sense that I was going to this place so often, that I would start to document the people there and my time there and sort of my presence there and the character of this skatepark,” he said.
Rodriguez, who’s been skateboarding since he was 15-years-old, wanted to broaden how society sees skaters, which is a primarily white male sport.
“I wanted to capture those moments that show us in a peaceful light,” he said.
The result is a collection of 20 images that portray a community who have found a sense of belonging — on a skateboard.
“We’re sort of these young men who are trying to find their place in the world,” Rodriguez said.
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